News / Asia

    China Tightens Media Controls After Tiananmen Crash

    A man works on a security camera that was installed at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, November 1, 2013. China's domestic security chief believes a fatal vehicle crash in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in which five died was planned by a Uighur separatist group,
    A man works on a security camera that was installed at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, November 1, 2013. China's domestic security chief believes a fatal vehicle crash in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in which five died was planned by a Uighur separatist group,
    There are still many questions surrounding what happened in China’s capital last week, when a family of three plowed into a crowd of tourists and set their car on fire, killing themselves. China says the incident, which killed two and injured 40, was clearly a premeditated terrorist attack by members of an ethnic minority group from Xinjiang. But authorities insist the act is not linked to the country’s policies in the remote and restive region and are denouncing those who suggest otherwise.
     
    It has been a week since a Uighur family, a husband, wife and mother, from China’s Xinjiang region drove into the country’s political heart of Tiananmen Square. And yet, little is known about those involved.
     
    Chinese authorities say a network of other individuals from Xinjiang helped carry out what they say was a premeditated terrorist attack. The say fuel, knives and banners with extremist slogans were found in the car.
     
    Hong Lei, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said the incident was an attack against China's society.
     
    He said, "We oppose to the adoption of a double standard in this issue. Some people link the attack with Chinese policy and even blame Chinese policy for the attack. We express strong dissatisfaction with that."
     
    Hong's remarks were in response to a recent report by CNN that has enraged some in China. The report asked: “Tiananmen Crash: Terrorism or a Cry of Desperation?” China’s official Global Times called the report “way out of line.”
     
    The Chinese government says it has brought opportunity and development to the mineral rich region of Xinjiang. But minorities there such as the Uighurs complain about oppressive controls on religion and culture.
     
    In the wake of the Tiananmen incident, media outlets in China have been instructed to not publish anything other than official Xinhua reports. On China’s Twitter-like Weibo service, typically a vibrant forum for discussion, postings on Tiananmen are being censored almost as quickly as they are published. Even a release on state broadcaster CCTV’s English microblog, which had new details about the attack, was later removed.
     
    Authorities have also been pressuring prominent Uighurs in the capital over the past few days.
     
    Ilham Tohti, a Uighur economist based in Beijing, says authorities are threatening analysts like himself who dare to criticize Beijing's heavy-handed policies in Xinjiang.
     
    Tohti says that on Saturday, plain-clothes police rammed his car and threatened him for speaking with news media.
     
    He said, “They snatched my wife's phone, and also my phone. And they downloaded some material on the phone. In the midst they threatened me, they said they would kill me, that they would run my family over. And this was because I had said too many things to the media.”

    Tohti says that while Uighurs are starting to talk more about social problems and their awareness is growing, the climate is still stifling.

    “More and more people agree with what I am saying, but many do not dare [to re-Tweet me or show public appreciation] because free speech and expression of opinion, especially in Xinjiang, is very dangerous. I can understand them,” he said.

    He says he continues to speak out, despite the threats, because he is determined to share his views.

    Security analyst Rafeallo Pantucci says the Chinese government's response highlights its broader concern of preventing the individual grievances of groups of people from coalescing into a unified vision.

    “When you are dealing with an individual who is angry at the system and expresses themselves in these ways, well that is an individual and he has his specific kind of grievances, if these grievances start to fuse into a bigger vision, a vision that says that we are an oppressed people, that we are living in an occupied country and we need to resist well then you are dealing with an issue that is trying to strike at the question of control and legitimacy of authority,” he said.

    Acts of violence are not uncommon in China and many times they involve grievances with local officials or government policies. China spends more on internal defense that it does on its military.

    Earlier this year, a man in southern China lit a bus on fire to vent his anger, killing 47 people, including himself.

    But unlike the authorities' tight control over the Tiananmen story, in that case local government and state-media revealed thorough details about who the man was just hours after the incident occurred, including a suicide note he left behind. A week after the deadly incident in Tiananmen square, there remain many unanswered questions.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    November 08, 2013 10:08 AM
    When it comes to Uighurs & Tibetans, the CCP labels every protest, even peaceful ones, as either terrorism or separatism. The CCP also heavily censors & controls the news of protests by Tibetans & Uighurs to control the narrative of the story. But when Han Chinese engage in actual terrorism, like the guy who set off a bomb in Beijing Aiport to the guy who set a bus on fire killing 46 people, the CCP explain that as ordinary crimes or personal grievances & allow more news about it.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora